Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global

Bautista: Top speed advantage masking Ducati's WSBK weaknesses

Alvaro Bautista says the straightline speed advantage of Ducati's World Superbike challenger gives a false impression about the Panigale V4 R's competitiveness.

Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati, Iker Lecuona, Team HRC

Bautista holds a 17-point lead in the riders’ standings over Jonathan Rea after the opening three rounds of the season, while Ducati likewise sits ahead of Kawasaki in the manufacturers’ stakes.

Although a crash involving Rea’s Kawasaki and the Yamaha of Toprak Razgatlioglu in the final race at Assen has played in Bautista’s favour, both he and Ducati have proved rapid in the opening part of the 2022 campaign.

In particular, Ducati continues to be quicker than both the Kawasaki ZX-10RR and the Yamaha R1 on straights this year, while Bautista was also strong on the brakes into the Turn 1 right-hander.

However, the Spaniard feels it is easy to overlook how much the Ducati struggles on low-speed corners including the Turn 9/10 chicane, where he was passed by eventual winner Rea on the final lap of Sunday’s second full-distance race.

“You can see on the straight [the bike is fast] because it's easy, but you don't see the problems I can see during the rest of the lap,” explained the 37-year-old, who won Saturday's opening race but finished second to Rea in the finale.

“For example in the sector with corners 8, 9, 11, 12, I lose [time] compared to Toprak and Jonathan. I can't improve a lot there because my bike is strong in other points but in small sectors and slow sectors we are not so strong. 

“But if you see from outside it could [seem like] this is the rider that is not good, he wins because of the bike, because you can only see the straight. Also, I have to fight with the bike in these [low-speed] sectors. 

“In any case we have strong points and we need to improve the negative points. For me it's not a problem if people think the bike is a rocket or something. I know the truth and I know my feeling and where we can go faster than the others.”

Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati

Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Explaining the issues that are holding back the Ducati, Bautista feels there is room to improve the mid-corner speed of the Panigale V4 R, as well as time to be gained while changing directions in turns.

However, he cautioned against introducing any changes that could compromise areas where the Ducati is currently strong.

“I think we have some areas to improve like mid-corner. Without brakes and without gas, the bike can turn a bit better," he said.

“Also on the change of direction we need to have the bike a bit more precise in the lines and to be a bit quicker on the change of direction because right now the bike is not heavy but very slow. 

“I think because the bike doesn’t turn as well as others, so we are in delay every time. 

“But on the other side we have very good traction in the dry and we have some very high corner speed in some corners. 

“It's difficult to improve that area [where we are slow] but we are searching for it. It's not easy, we are trying. We don't want to do strange things just to gain there and lose a lot of positives.”

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Redding hindered by mid-weekend BMW changes at Estoril
Next article Rea hopes Razgatlioglu can prove WSBK's level in MotoGP

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global